The United States Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced its $500,000 Innovative Finance Grant Window to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in northern Ghana.
The grant programme, which is part of the Feed the Future Ghana Market Systems and Resilience (MSR) Activity, targets financial institutions and other non-bank financial institutions to leverage private lender capital to supports improved access to finance, inputs supply and business development services that drive agriculture-led economic growth.
The MSR’s Innovative Finance Grant Window will support development and economic growth in targeted crop value chains in maize, shea, Bambara beans, soybeans, cowpea, groundnut, moringa, mango, and vegetables and their value addition in 17 designated districts across the Northern, Northeast, Upper West, and Upper East regions.
Mr Raymond Denteh, the Agribusiness and Financial Services team leader of the MSR, announced this at a public roadshow in Accra.
He said the programme was aimed at harnessing private lender resources to enhance access to finance, input supply, and business development services that boost agriculture-led economic growth.
“The Innovative Finance Grant Window targets three main categories namely, Financial Institutions including commercial banks, micro-finance institutions, rural banks, and non-bank financial institutions including impact investors, financial technology companies, as well as agric service providers including input and business development service providers,” he stated.
Mr Denteh explained that the grants were designed to reduce the cost of agricultural lending, improve the liquidity of financial service providers, and encourage more agriculture service providers to offer targeted financial services to SMEs in USAID’s 17-district zone of influence within Ghana’s four northern regions.
Mr Cecil Osei, the Deputy Chief of Party for the programme, speaking to the media, indicated that the Innovation Finance Grant Window would incentivise Financial Service Providers (FSPs) to mobilise $18.5M in credit and capital by the end of the project.
“It will provide incentive payments to FSPs that increase access to finance for Micro-Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and increase uptake of inputs to intensify agricultural production in northern Ghana,” he said.
On eligibility, he announced that applicants must be those who actively provide financial services in Northern Ghana within the USAID’s 17- district zone of influence and do not have any active exclusions in the United Nations, World Bank, or other international compliance databases.
“Eligible applicants must be officially registered and must be working in compliance with all applicable civil and fiscal regulations, including but not limited to pertinent local laws and status, and must have a National Tax Identification Number and any requisite permits, licenses, and registrations required,” he said.
Meanwhile, a statement from the USAID has announced series of public roadshows being held in Accra, Tamale, Bolgatanga and Wa from April 14 -20, 2023 to announce the grant process to prospective applicants.
The roadshows would help prospective applicants understand the purpose, eligibility requirements, and grant application processes.
The Ghana MSR Activity is a five-year activity implemented by a consortium of partners led by Agricultural Cooperative Development International (ACDI) and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (VOCA), focusing on strengthening commercial relationships between market actors namely outgrower businesses, smallholder farmers, producers, processors, buyers, input suppliers and lenders to expand agribusiness in the northern regions.
The MSR supports inclusive economic growth and works to fully engage women, youth, and people with disabilities in all its programming and grant funding opportunities.